Engage America  Series

The WACA National Office partners with think tanks, foundations, NGOs, corporations, and occasionally government agencies to arrange timely "national conversations" at several World Affairs Councils across the country on critical international topics.

Freedom and Power in the Digital Age (Google)

Presented by Google

Congratulations to the eight World Affairs Councils selected to host Freedom and Power in the Digital Age Speaker Events, which will feature notable Google experts. This program, supported by a grant from Google, also includes an Educators Seminar with a separate team of Google experts who will address how teachers and students can best leverage the tools of the new digital age to further their educational missions.

2014 Events

Freedom and Power in the Digital Age
In the last 25 years, the Internet has changed the way people access and share information, and has shifted the dynamics of societies around the globe. Until the Internet, almost all forms of mass communication were run by the elite and powerful. Today, citizens with a web connection have the potential to take any message and reach an audience of millions. But this individual potential is only possible when the Internet is open and free for its users. More than 600 million Internet users - over 30% of the world's total Internet population - live in countries where there is substantial filtering or censorship of online content. Understanding what the Internet and online freedom mean for the world is critical for the future of democracy, human rights, and economic development everywhere and it will be the central focus of this Engage America Speaker Series. 

The program consists of two major features:


1. Main Speaker Event
The centerpiece of the program is a keynote address by one speaker from Google discussing Freedom and Power in the Digital Age. This event should be open to regular Council attendees, including Council members, sponsors, board members, trustees, students, and young professionals. We expect the eight participating Councils to engage the largest possible audience.


The main event should also be supplemented by additional activities featuring the keynote speaker at community events such as local radio and press interviews, visits to local universities or high schools, or small group community discussions. Additional activities are subject to the speaker's schedule.


2. Educators Seminar
Each main speaking event will be supplemented with a 2-3 hour tutorial seminar for educators, conducted by a separate small team of Google experts for educators. The seminar should be open to educators in each Council's network and community. This program will address more specific issues of how teachers and students can best access and leverage the tools of the new digital age to further their educational missions. The seminar should take place on or close to the day of the main speaking event.


Speakers may include the following Google experts. Councils may indicate a preference, but need to be open to hosting any Google expert.

  • Ross LaJeunesse
    Global Head of Freedom of Expression and International Relations
  • David Drummond
    Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer
  • Ben Blink
    Policy Analyst, Free Expression and International Relations
  • Victoria Grand
    Director of Global Policy and Communications, YouTube
  • Scott Carpenter
    Google Ideas Principal
  • Jared Cohen
    Google Ideas Director

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